Skip to main content
Promotion: Promotional Banner Image

CUNA is now America’s Credit Unions.
A stronger voice to advance the credit union industry.

Learn More

Marketing Language for Credit Unions

By Prisma Campains
January, 2023

Financial services can be complex, and financial language is known for confusing jargon and complicated terminology. It’s important for financial marketing to be as transparent and straightforward as possible in an industry where connections are built on trust and security. People’s relationship to finance can feel intimidating, but your credit union’s marketing language doesn’t need to be.

A study of 50 banks in the United States revealed that nearly 60% of their website content(1) is inaccessible to the average American. Your members have varying education levels, financial knowledge, and time in their day, so it’s safe to say that your language should be easy to understand. Below we’ll discuss how your credit union can communicate with member-friendly marketing language.

Keep It Straightforward

Financial marketers should remember that simplified messaging doesn’t equate to sacrificing the validity or power of your offerings. A simple start to evaluating your marketing language is reading it out loud or using the readability score included in Microsoft Word. In the study mentioned above, an overwhelming amount of FIs scored low on readability, and it’s common for sentences to sound different to the writer compared to the reader. It might be time to rework your message if you’re stumbling over your words, sounding out a list of acronyms, or pausing to take a breath. Long, drawn-out sentences are expected in academic writing, but your FI’s content shouldn’t feel like a research paper or classic novel. When in doubt, simplify your sentences.

Choose Words Wisely

Many credit unions fall into the trap of using a dull tone or overusing jargon. The concept of improving people’s financial wellness and providing powerful financial tools is exciting, so your members should sense that through your messaging.

The phrase “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” can apply directly to your credit union’s marketing language. Choosing strong action verbs, reducing passive voice, and shedding a positive light on an offering can impact a potential member’s point of view.

An example is a credit card benefit. Instead of a drawn-out, technical explanation that resembles a math problem, you can clearly show consumers the number of points or cashback amount they can receive. You can also add a compelling, “What will you do with the extra $150 you’ve earned?” or, “What dream vacation do you have planned?”

Giving concrete examples that people can relate to is a great way to grab their attention and encourage them to take action. Many people won’t understand technical jargon, so it’s important to reduce complex concepts on your marketing channels to keep your offerings clear and understandable to the average member. As your relationship develops, you can provide more information through email or your call center if they have additional questions.

Regulate Your Language

The financial services industry is heavily regulated, and credit unions must follow many rules and regulations to remain compliant with the law. Most financial emails and websites include disclaimers, and some of that technical language is unavoidable.

However, your marketing and risk management teams should be in contact with each other to figure out the best way to communicate these terms to members. Compliance language can be tedious and complex, but your internal teams can craft a message with more straightforward and understandable language while meeting requirements.

Personalize to Members

Personalization is key when it comes to your marketing language. You should think about who your audience is and tailor your message accordingly. If you are communicating with members who have engaged with your products and services before, you can use more language specific to your credit union and build on the financial concepts that they’re already familiar with.

Keep it simple

If you’re trying to reach new audiences, you may not want to include jargon that’s hyper-specific to your institution. They may be unfamiliar with your digital capabilities, loyalty program, or product features, so jargon-filled messaging is overwhelming when interacting with your credit union for the first time. With these new members, you can give broad overviews of your offerings while still conveying a welcoming and helpful tone.

Personalization can also apply to the different types of members you currently serve. Your millennial and senior consumers likely have varied knowledge on new digital capabilities and offerings, and millennials may be more open to communication via SMS or your mobile app. Using modern, future-forward jargon can appeal more to the younger generations, while older members may be more familiar with your traditional messaging and marketing channels. While it’s important to introduce new, exciting tools and resources to all of your members, it’s helpful to tailor your messaging based on who you’re speaking with.

Relatability goes a long way, and sometimes clear, simple language is more powerful than we think. People form impressions quickly when visiting websites and reading emails, so it’s important to put your best content foot forward. We are more likely to engage and take action if we grasp what is being communicated, and following these key steps can improve your marketing language to build deeper relationships with your audience.

Prisma Campaigns allows you to leverage your data to deliver relevant offers and messaging to each consumer. Our marketing automation software helps your financial institution create personalized, high-performing omnichannel marketing campaigns. To learn more, visit Prisma’s blog posts for more useful marketing tips and strategies.

(1) 58% of financial content inaccessible to the average American

About Prisma Campaigns

Prisma Campaigns is a marketing automation platform specifically designed to help credit unions develop deep and empathic relationships with their members through personalized marketing campaigns. It uses a connected, data-centric approach to communicate with members on all your digital channels - email, SMS, online banking and mobile app. Prisma Campaigns’ open platform integrates with your existing banking technology and is ready to grow and expand with your credit union.

Prisma is trusted by 25 credit unions to enhance their member experience and increase conversion rates.